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2002 11 11
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Chapter 26


"Do not make false gods for yourselves. You shall not erect an idol or a sacred pillar for yourselves, nor shall you set up a stone figure for worship in your land; for I, the LORD, am your God.


Keep my sabbaths, and reverence my sanctuary. I am the LORD.


1 "If you live in accordance with my precepts and are careful to observe my commandments,


I will give you rain in due season, so that the land will bear its crops, and the trees their fruit;


your threshing will last till vintage time, and your vintage till the time for sowing, and you will have food to eat in abundance, so that you may dwell securely in your land.


I will establish peace in the land, that you may lie down to rest without anxiety. I will rid the country of ravenous beasts, and keep the sword of war from sweeping across your land.


You will rout your enemies and lay them low with your sword.


Five of you will put a hundred of your foes to flight, and a hundred of you will chase ten thousand of them, till they are cut down by your sword.


I will look with favor upon you, and make you fruitful and numerous, as I carry out my covenant with you.


So much of the old crops will you have stored up for food that you will have to discard them to make room for the new.


I will set my Dwelling among you, and will not disdain you.


Ever present in your midst, I will be your God, and you will be my people;


for it is I, the LORD, your God, who brought you out of the land of the Egyptians and freed you from their slavery, breaking the yoke they had laid upon you and letting you walk erect.


"But if you do not heed me and do not keep all these commandments,


if you reject my precepts and spurn my decrees, refusing to obey all my commandments and breaking my covenant,


then I, in turn, will give you your deserts. I will punish you with terrible woes - with wasting and fever to dim the eyes and sap the life. You will sow your seed in vain, for your enemies will consume the crop.


I will turn against you, till you are beaten down before your enemies and lorded over by your foes. You will take to flight though no one pursues you.


"If even after this you do not obey me, I will increase the chastisement for your sins sevenfold,


to break your haughty confidence. I will make the sky above you as hard as iron, and your soil as hard as bronze,


so that your strength will be spent in vain; your land will bear no crops, and its trees no fruit.


"If then you become defiant in your unwillingness to obey me, I will multiply my blows another sevenfold, as your sins deserve.


I will unleash the wild beasts against you, to rob you of your children and wipe out your livestock, till your population dwindles away and your roads become deserted.


"If, with all this, you still refuse to be chastened by me and continue to defy me,


I, too, will defy you and will smite you for your sins seven times harder than before.


I will make the sword, the avenger of my covenant, sweep over you. Though you then huddle together in your walled cities, I will send in pestilence among you, till you are forced to surrender to the enemy.


And as I cut off your supply of bread, ten women will need but one oven for baking all the bread they dole out to you in rations - not enough food to still your hunger.


"If, despite all this, you still persist in disobeying and defying me,


I, also, will meet you with fiery defiance and will chastise you with sevenfold fiercer punishment for your sins,


2 till you begin to eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters.


I will demolish your high places, overthrow your incense stands, and cast your corpses on those of your idols. In my abhorrence of you,


I will lay waste your cities and devastate your sanctuaries, refusing to accept your sweet-smelling offerings.


So devastated will I leave the land that your very enemies who come to live there will stand aghast at the sight of it.


You yourselves I will scatter among the nations at the point of my drawn sword, leaving your countryside desolate and your cities deserted.


Then shall the land retrieve its lost sabbaths during all the time it lies waste, while you are in the land of your enemies; then shall the land have rest and make up for its sabbaths


during all the time that it lies desolate, enjoying the rest that you would not let it have on the sabbaths when you lived there.


"Those of you who survive in the lands of their enemies I will make so fainthearted that, if leaves rustle behind them, they will flee headlong, as if from the sword, though no one pursues them;


stumbling over one another as if to escape a weapon, while no one is after them - so helpless will you be to take a stand against your foes!


You will be lost among the Gentiles, swallowed up in your enemies' country.


Those of you who survive in the lands of their enemies will waste away for their own and their fathers' guilt.


"Thus they will have to confess that they and their fathers were guilty of having rebelled against me and of having defied me,


so that I, too, had to defy them and bring them into their enemies' land. Then, when their uncircumcised hearts are humbled and they make amends for their guilt,


I will remember my covenant with Jacob, my covenant with Isaac, and my covenant with Abraham; and of the land, too, I will be mindful.


But the land must first be rid of them, that in its desolation it may make up its lost sabbaths, and that they, too, may make good the debt of their guilt for having spurned my precepts and abhorred my statutes.


Yet even so, even while they are in their enemies' land, I will not reject or spurn them, lest, by wiping them out, I make void my covenant with them; for I, the LORD, am their God.


I will remember them because of the covenant I made with their forefathers, whom I brought out of the land of Egypt under the very eyes of the Gentiles, that I, the LORD, might be their God."


3 These are the precepts, decrees and laws which the LORD had Moses promulgate on Mount Sinai in the pact between himself and the Israelites.


1 [3-45] Since God's covenant was with the Israelite nation as a whole, these promises and threats are made primarily to the entire community. The rewards and punishments are of a temporal nature because the community as such exists only here on earth, not in the hereafter.

2 [29] Eat the flesh of your own sons and daughters: extreme famine in cities under siege often forced their inhabitants to such dire means of subsistence. Cf Deut 28:53; Jeremiah 19:9; Ezekiel 5:10; 2 Kings 6:28-u29.

3 [46] The Book of Leviticus seems originally to have ended here; the following chapter is an appendix.

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